The Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona awarded a $10,000 grant to Veteran Services USA to “repurpose and renew historic elements” of the former America’s Best Value Inn motel at 720 Navajo Blvd. in Holbrook, Arizona.
A news release from Veteran Services USA stated:
Motel owner Veteran Services USA intends to pursue several pre-development steps that will elevate the property’s eligibility to receive Arizona state low-income housing financing for the total rehabilitation of the old motel built in 1955. The transformation will pave the way for affordable housing and programs to support veterans experiencing housing and economic instability.
“Our association appreciated that the creation of a mixed-use zoning would positively affect additional businesses beyond just the single grant recipient, and we are pleased to see old Route 66 motels find a new purpose,” said Nikki Seegers, director of operations, Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. “With these matching funds, we look forward to seeing innovative thinking that will preserve the history of this property, including how the structural facades are saved or rebuilt to honor the motel’s legacies. Route 66 travelers and community members will greatly appreciate the new life and purpose the buildings have found.”
The need to reinvest in the renovation of significant real estate assets along the Route 66 corridor is critical to avoid future unintentional loss. The frequency of overnight motel stays along the Route has diminished while the demand for affordable residential solutions has increased significantly. In addition, the integration of new commercial tenants will create an attractive streetscape for those living, working and visiting the area.
Seegers also wrote in an email:
Organization will update zoning code to allow for Mixed-Use Zoning to give property owners greater flexibility in redeveloping their properties to meet modern demand and grow its overall economic impact. The Veterans Services organization plans on repurposing motels as veteran housing and related services. If not repurposed, these historic properties would likely be lost.
The association receives revenue from the Arizona Route 66 license plate program it launched in December 2016 that generated $231,000 in its first year. The robust cash flow has enabled the association to move away from being a membership-based organization.
The association has supported several projects, including the repainting of the mural at Standin’ On The Corner Park in Winslow, the renovation of exhibit space in the Arizona Route 66 Museum in Kingman, stencils and paint for shields in the road in Parks, a donation for paint and stucco work at the Painted Desert Trading Post and the creation of an endowment at NAU’s Cline Library where the state’s Route 66 archives are collected and housed.
(Excerpted image from Google Street View of the America’s Best Value Inn in Holbrook, Arizona)